Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD has today signed an Agreement on behalf of the Government of Ireland to enable Ireland’s participation in the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Trial.
The Minister is announcing funding of €2.4 million to support hospitals to recruit patients for the Trial.
The WHO Solidarity Trial is an international collaboration amongst WHO and participating international member countries and researchers to evaluate potential COVID-19 treatments.
The Solidarity Trial has recruited over 5000 patients to date, in over 400 hospitals and across 35 countries, with another 100 countries awaiting approval to participate in the trial.
Minister Harris said:
"I am delighted that Ireland is playing its part in the global response to the COVID-19 crisis, in solidarity with our international partners. There are still no proven treatments for COVID-19 and it is really important that any potential treatments are prescribed within the context of clinical trials where patients provide consent and everything is controlled and monitored."
Recruitment will start at hospitals around the country within a matter of days and is made possible through government investment in recent decades in clinical trials facilities, networks and other supports.
Professor Joe Eustace, Professor of Patient Focused Research at UCC and the Lead Investigator for the trial said:
"The Solidarity-Ireland Trial is sponsored by the Irish Government; hosted by UCC and coordinated by HRB Clinical Research Coordination Ireland; the 6 main University based Clinical Research Facilities and Centres and their affiliated hospitals are collaborating on this critical trial in order to establish the safety and effectiveness of potential treatments for Irish patients suffering with COVID-19. The trial may allow us to identify treatments that will reduce the severity of the infection, decrease the need for ITU care and reduce the infection’s mortality rate.”
The Minister emphasised that:
"while the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is, thankfully, much reduced due to the efforts of all, this Trial offers hope for those patients currently in our hospitals across the country. In addition, while it is impossible to predict the future shape of the pandemic, we cannot be complacent and this Trial is a key element in our national preparedness for the risk of a further outbreak or a second wave. Successful treatments will decrease the impact of COVID-19 on patients and on Irish Society, and the potential need for future lockdowns."
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